We often have a target renter in our marketing plan and strategy for leasing apartments. We can direct our marketing toward a specific type of renter, but once a prospect walks in the door, it is all about THAT person, not what your target person might be. All types of people may walk through the door, requiring us to adapt our planned strategy for leasing apartments to each generation.
The Generations are generally classified as:
- Traditionalists or Veterans (born before 1946)
- Baby Boomers (born 1946 to 1964)
- Generation X (born 1964 to 1980)
- Generation Y or Millennials (born 1980 to 1996)
- Gen Z or I-generation (born 1997 to 2010)
- Generation Alpha (born 2010 to 2024)
- Generation Beta or Artificials (born 2024 to 2040)
A Harvard study shows that most of the evidence for generational differences in preferences and values suggests that differences between those groups is quite small. The differences may be much less than our standard training suggests. In fact, there is a considerable variety of preferences and values within each of these groups.
Facemasks are a good example of this. A U.S.-based survey found that 62% of Americans aged 18-23 (Gen Z) always wear a face mask in public settings, compared with 54% of Americans aged 24-39 (Millennials). 61% of people aged 40-55 (Gen X) said they always wear a face mask in public settings vs. 69% of people aged 56-74 (Baby Boomers).
1. The Generation Gap may not actually be as big as it is perceived to be. Each generation is not as different from the others as we insist. Generational stereotypes can hurt your leasing presentation. Some of these stereotypes and assumptions may include:
- Boomers don’t like to text and prefer a phone call.
- Gen X is too independent and does not work well with others.
- Millennials ONLY want to communicate with you through text.
- Gen Y and Z will lease with just a virtual presentation.
Even more damaging are Meta-Stereotypes (i.e., what we think others believe about us based on our age group):
- Boomer: “They probably think I’m too old to relate… and anti-tech.”
- Gen X: “She may think I won’t cooperate unless I’m in charge.”
- Millennial: “He thinks I am narcissistic and a short-timer.”
- Gen Z, The Zoomer: “They believe I am more interested in screen time than in-person face time.”
2. Stereotyping your prospect due to Generation will decrease your impact.
Three leasing issues are important to all 3 generations:
- I can move in, and everything is ready for living.
- Amenities are close by and easy to access. (includes Smart Apartment devices)
- Parking is handy, free, and close.
- I can live near my job, family, church, lake, etc.
- Maintenance and repairs are taken care of for me.
- I don’t have to be tied down to a long-term commitment.
- I can live in a new and updated home with great outdoor space.
- Smart Package Delivery is available.
- FEP! Friendly, Enthusiastic, Professional
- 55% of face-to-face communication comes from what you see, 38% comes from the tone of voice, and only 7% comes from the words you use.
- Personal Pride. Everyone wants to feel good about where they live.
These are universal issues.
3. Apartment hunting is very stressful and time-consuming. Show empathy!
There are some guidelines that may help when leasing apartments to each generation:
- Take a little extra time to get to know this senior. Slow down a bit.
- They will appreciate your paper, hard copy. (Floor plans, brochure, etc.)
- Your language should be professional and less casual than what might be widely accepted today.
- Be simple, direct, and to the point while remaining respectful and courteous.
- They are concerned with the value they are getting for their money. Feature/benefit selling is helpful for leasing apartments.
- Price is not always a major issue, but they like deals and want to protect their wealth. (Boomers control 70% of disposable income.)
- Focus on personal engagement, especially if they are retired.
- Boomers like to get social, too.
- Keep it simple but memorable. They might like paper, too.
- Include a reward or discount… ‘just for you.‘ Loyalty programs are appealing.
- Handwritten thank you notes are still appreciated.
- They are financially stable, in the middle of their careers, and at their peak earnings.
- They care about security. They typically have children and have strong family values.
- Authenticity is important.
- They research apartments on the internet. You must have a solid online presence.
- They actively engage with new and traditional media.
- They are socially conscious and receptive to brands that fill that bill. Think GREEN and sustainable.
- They are more likely to be using a broad online search for their next apartment, so come “fully armed” with information.
- They are looking for value, even over convenience.
- They want a solid community from a company they feel good about.
- Peer recommendations are very important.
Gen Z, The Zoomers:
- Digital natives! If you don’t catch them online, you miss your chance!
- Gen Z has a shorter attention span yet desires humanization and two-way conversation – online!
- They have already proven to be good savers. 50% have a savings account.
- Short and quirky videos set the stage.
- Above all, be entertaining and FUN!
4. Closing the sale with each Generation.
Now that we understand the differences and characteristics of how each generation searches for an apartment, we can customize our closing style for leasing apartments to each generation.
- Traditionalist: “If you are interested in a place that will truly treat you like family, this is your best option. Many of our residents have lived here for more than 10 years. I would be honored to have you as my neighbor.”
- Boomer: “You have looked around and done your homework. You can see we offer the best value for your dollar. Plus, we have the special discount that ends tomorrow.”
- Millennials: “This really works for you! We can get you approved and moved in as soon as this weekend. And you know you can trust a name like [your company’s name].”
- Gen Z, Zoomers: “I know you have really checked us out online. We met your standards, didn’t we? And you like our commitment to sustainability. Not to mention ample charging stations.”
After all of these methods have been used and customized for leasing apartments to each generation, don’t forget to ask for the lease! Your prospect just wants to rent an apartment. Invite them to do so RIGHT NOW!
Ultimately, though there are distinct differences between the generations, we also have much in common. We all want a wonderful place to call home. We search for that home differently, but the goal is the same. Learn to use 4 tips for leasing apartments to each generation, and you’ll convert more prospects to residents!